Towards the 2023 Electoral Question

Column | Towards the 2023 Electoral Quest(ion) – Part 2

By Abdulqadir M. Habeeb

The 2023 electioneering is upon us and preparations are at a fever high pitch. Nigeria’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been doing wonderfully well in giving periodic updates to all stakeholders on their readiness as well as enlightening the public on the grey areas pertinent to the elections to enhance a smooth and successful exercise.

Due to the extended periods allowed for campaigns as provided in the new electoral act, campaign activities have been relaxed by the key actors and players to avoid premature burnout. We are likely going to see a surge in campaign activities come December through the elections period.

Back to the presidential elections, the stage is being prepared, and horse tradings, alignments and realignments are being arranged. As it is with every campaign cycle, now, more than ever, mud-slinging, incoherent vituperation and borderline slanderous jibes and hack jobs are flying around in the atmosphere. Though cheap and undignified, this has become a mainstay of election cycles in democracies. To be in the arena, you have to have grown a very thick skin and be ready to take as many jibes or even much more than you dish out.

The surprise package of the month is Engineer Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the NNPP. His stock has been on the rise recently, he has talked himself into the consciousness of many and in the process won new converts and believers to his candidacy. Brilliant and experienced, he is a former 2 term governor, former Minister and Senator whose ideology is tilted favourably towards human capital development via education and is also big on infrastructural development. To his credit, he has trails of results and verifiable evidence as a testimony to his antecedents. He also comes across as a level-headed person who understands the peculiarities of this country and how to harness them for the general good. I am deeply impressed by his sudden break to the fore and curious about his articulate manifesto cum media engagements. He has indeed added substance to the debates and contests.

A few days ago, the All Progressive Congress (APC) Flagged off its Presidential campaign in Jos, Plateau state with the conviction of a united house. In their colourful best were all the Party’s serving governors and also the President. A few hours later, the women’s wing of the campaign council flagged off its campaign in Ilorin, Kwara state. If the success and momentum of both flag-offs are an indication of what is to come, then the APC is surely approaching this election as it should; a contest that requires everybody in the party to pull together in the same direction with all vigour and seriousness necessary for the task of convincing Nigerians on why the party should be given a fresh mandate to continue leading the country. The manifesto released by the party has a lot of practical laudable initiatives and plans. It displays a great deal of understanding of the current situation the country is bearing in mind the global economic quagmire. Even though I have a few areas of concern, as the campaign gathers steam, the manifesto would be taken piecemeal and dissected by the candidate and or members of the council, then it would be the appropriate time to air misgivings and seek elucidation.

The PDP and its candidate have been busy putting finishing touches to their campaign plans and bringing key aggrieved stakeholders on-side. It is admirable how Waziri has been trying to pull the train in the right direction with dignified poise and graceful ‘statesmanly candour’. I must admit that I appreciate him more than ever. His experience in the arena is invaluable and is on display at these difficult moments. The Waziri is a veteran of electioneering and what it entails. We await when the party starts to dissect its manifesto so that we can ask appropriate questions based on their proposed plans of action.

“Voting isn’t the most we can do. But it is the least” – Gloria Steinem

For God and Country!
‘posterity shall vindicate the just’

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Abdulqadir M. Habeeb, a columnist with The Informant247, is a strategist and IT Professional. He writes from Kaduna, Nigeria. He can be reached via [email protected]

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